asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused, especially to rural elderly persons and young mothers, holders of ration and identity cards, by having to present them at distant food offices in local towns, where in many cases the distance to be travelled is from six to nine miles each way at a time when transport is very scarce, very dear, and always overcrowded; and whether he will consider allowing cards to be issued by volunteer agents in parishes, as was done in the first instance?
I am aware that some inconvenience to the public is inevitable in connection with the issue of new ration books and identity cards. This should not necessarily involve persons such as those mentioned by my hon. Friend as the single visit necessary can be made by a friend. It is not possible to adopt any of the methods which have been used in previous years. The close association of the food ration book, clothing ration book and the identity card, itself a matter of great convenience to the public, necessitates strict security conditions and very careful handling. Furthermore the staff of Officials which can be made available is very limited. The issue is being spread over a number of weeks and its effects will be closely watched. Every endeavour will be made to minimise inconveniences locally.